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Sony: Keeping PSN Totally Free On PS4 Would’ve Been “Absurd”

Most gamers fell in love with the PlayStation 4 at E3, but there was one piece of news that disappointed many.

It was the announcement that one must have a PlayStation Plus membership if one wishes to play games online. Obviously, this means that the PSN will no longer be 100% free, as it has been for several generations.

It's a sore spot for many gamers, but Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida tried to explain the reasoning behind the move. In speaking to Famitsu (as translated by Kotaku ), Yoshida said it simply would've been "absurd" to keep the service free, considering the "large investment of resources" required for the online infrastructure. Bottom line- a lot of money is being spent.

"Considering the cost, to try to keep such a service free and consequently lower the quality would be absurd. We decided that if that's the case, then it would be better to receive proper payment and continue to offer a good service."

As of now, it costs you nothing to play games online via the PSN, but that's going to change. If you're already a Plus member, you're good to go (although you'll have to renew it annually); if not, you can pick one up for $50/year. This is basically the same as Microsoft's Xbox Live program, which charges $60/year to play online. However, as we've said many times before, Plus is an initiative that offers far more in the way of perks and bonuses. It's not just to play online.

Also, Yoshida explained that Sony wouldn't be abandoning the PS3 after the PS4 launches, which is expected. All PlayStation consoles to date have gone on to sell quite well after new hardware iterations arrived. Some of the PS2's most prolific years came after the PS3 was on store shelves.

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slugga_status
slugga_status
11 years ago

People have to realize that you're getting your more than just access to online MP with Plus. Been a Plus member since it has came out and I can easily say the service has paid for itself at least 6 times over by now. It's not just the beta access and discounts, you get full games for free. If I had a Vita I'd have tons of free games.

telly
telly
11 years ago

It strikes me as perfectly fair and reasonable that if one wants to take advantage of online gameplay features on a game, they pay a small annual fee that helps fund servers, tech support, patches, etc., that makes online play possible. I understand no one WANTS to pay more! But I think this is a fair charge.

Also, PS Plus is AWESOME, there are TONS of free games every month for ALL of your Sony systems and sales on many more. GREAT service.

newchef
newchef
11 years ago

i figure thats true for most people, but for someone like me where i have never actually looked at anything in the Plus section and thought, "damn i want that" its just not for me. And i feel silly just getting plus to play multiplayer on a few games.

Maybe itll change next gen but as for now ill stick to the free service

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

I get all the Vita games in my download list so that when I buy one I'll have a huge library (If I stay a plus member)

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
11 years ago

Im with newchef, I dont want that stuff from PSPlus. If I did I would have it purchased already. I just want to get online and play some Borderlands with some friends.

Kryten1029a
Kryten1029a
11 years ago

Think about why they offered PSN for free in the first place. They had launched the PS3 a year behind the 360 and it was a rather expensive machine; free multiplayer was the loss-leader to get people to pick their console over the other one. That didn't make it free though! They had to pay for bandwidth,servers and pay salaries and benefits to the people who ran the service. Not only that, they were taking a loss on the hardware for years.
I realize that a lot of people are disappointed by the change, but when you think about it there's a valid business rationale behind it. If they don't have that expense then they have the incentive to beef up the network faster and we will probably see faster price drops on the PS4 relative to the PS3. Plus is still cheaper than Live and represents a greater value, so I'm fine with paying if it means that Sony is in a better competitive position as a result.

Phoenix
Phoenix
11 years ago

Honestly, IMO it's just another reason to not purchase a PS4. I was on the fence when I heard no BC, but this is really the straw that broke the camel's back for me. Yeah, they offer a very small service ( IMO not a very good one at that ), and it costs them money, but to pretty much force it, and to just throw away a pro that could very easily sell a ton more PS4s, is crazy.

Of course you could argue that they aren't forcing anything, but just think about how focused games are on MP these days, compared to SP. SP games only ring in at what? 4-8hrs of game play, sometimes more, but not often. So, if we dont pay for PSN, we are then stuck with a very short SP experience in most cases.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Unless you have a ridiculous amount of free time, I don't see how you don't get enough gaming with just single-player. I exclusively play single-player and I can't possibly keep up.

Furthermore, 4-8 hours is a significant exaggeration. I can't think of a game (outside of the first Modern Warfare and Medal of Honor) that actually came in at only 4 hours. The huge majority are more like 8-10 and I think that's plenty. On top of which, some of the best games of the past generation were single-player-oriented and were MUCH more than 10 hours. Bioshock Infinite, Dishonored and The Last Of Us are perfect examples. Even the Uncharteds and God of Wars were usually over 10 hours.

Then there's the big open-world games like inFamous, Grand Theft Auto, Assassin's Creed, Red Dead Redemption, Saints Row, and others, along with the RPGs like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, The Witcher, etc. Really, unless you've got like, nothing to do, I can't see how you can keep up. Even if you were never playing online.


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 6/27/2013 5:25:00 PM

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
11 years ago

I have to seriously disagree with you!!!! It has paid for itself at least 20 times since its inception!! 🙂


Last edited by CrusaderForever on 6/27/2013 7:43:45 PM

Akuma_
Akuma_
11 years ago

LMAO @ World

Dude, I have done the exact same thing. Don't even own a PS Vita, but my download list is FULL of Vita games I got from PSN+

I also got a bunch of FF games that I intend to install on it. FFVII on the go? hell yes

Broady
Broady
11 years ago

Definitely agree with Ben on this point – think I'm a few years behind (just started FFXII – yes 12 – again as I didn't finish it). Have still got a number of games in the plastic wrapping as I haven't had time to play them!

UK_MrSim_UK
UK_MrSim_UK
11 years ago

Plus is so good anyway I don't care, amazing value service! My backlog is huge!

telly
telly
11 years ago

And one subscription for all your Sony devices — free games for PS4, Vita and your PS3. That alone is a great reason to keep my PS3 hooked up once PS4 comes out, to stockpile a ton of PS3 games I never got around to before on my 500 gb hard drive!

bldudas1
bldudas1
11 years ago

Plus is such a great value. Free games and discounts.

And didn't Sony say only one account on the PS4 has to have Plus and the rest can play online?

Xombito
Xombito
11 years ago

Yes they did. The screen in the presentation was clear about that as well.

bldudas1
bldudas1
11 years ago

Thank you .

Temjin001
Temjin001
11 years ago

aren't 'free to play' games still free to play though?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

I seriously doubt it. This is one reason why MMOs are a bad idea. You have to pay for the game, then you have to pay for the game service, then you have to pay for PS Plus. That's an investment that's only worth it if you never play another game in your life.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 6/27/2013 12:19:02 PM

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

Didn't they say mmos would/could be played without being a Plus member?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

I dunno.

johnld
johnld
11 years ago

i think they said dc universe coukd be played without plus on ps4. didnt say anything about planetside 2

Kryten1029a
Kryten1029a
11 years ago

Microsoft has confirmed that free-to-play will be free to play, so I can't see Sony doing otherwise.

sawao_yamanaka
sawao_yamanaka
11 years ago

DC Universe Online, PlanetSide 2, Blacklight: Retribution and Warframe. Those are games that will NOT require plus at all. It is up to the developers to implement it if they want.

Temjin001
Temjin001
11 years ago

All I can say is that Grilled Steak flavored Ruffles sort of make me think cloudy when I eat too much of 'em.

=p

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
11 years ago

Free to Play games on PS4 will not need PS+ to play them online.

Akuma_
Akuma_
11 years ago

What these guys said ^^^

You don't need a PSN+ subscription to play any online-only games.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
11 years ago

Ok whats the definition of free to play?

Because my take on this was yes, games are free to play meaning you dont pay to play that game meaning pay to log in on the developers behalf. But you still have to pay to log into the PSN. So you are still having to pay for PSplus to log in and play that game.

I mean isnt that what you are paying for on top of PSplus is to log into the PSN?

LegendaryWolfeh
LegendaryWolfeh
11 years ago

If a game is free to play, and has micro transactions, example runescape, and it's on the ps4. It's up to the developer to decide if they want their game to be inside or outside the PSN system. So you don't have to buy PSN to pay their games unless they choose to go that route, is what I've gotten so far.

And on a side note, can someone confirm that XBL lets you play f2p games without having Gold? World of Tanks just made comments complaining that you have to have XBL Gold to play their F2P game which is how all f2p on xbl is. Just like netflix and other services.

Balz
Balz
11 years ago

FFXI on 360 does not require a gold account to play online. It let's you use a silver free account to play.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Obviously Plus is a fantastic value and it would be absurd to Sony to keep it free, but there's something to be said for going back on a promise of always keeping it free to play online.

Sony's games division doesn't really make any money so this is certainly necessary but I would propose adding another Tier for people with a budget tighter than a crabs ass. Give them just the access to online MP without all the perks because some don't want or need them.

I still think gaming online should be free for all, there are much better ways to make money. It's just that they are currently investing HEAVILY in their online services and something has to pay for it.

TGSA
TGSA
11 years ago

I always interpreted Sony's promise of the PSN being free for the PS3. To me it's not an issue that they're mandating payment for multiplayer, so long as it's dedicated servers handling multiplayer. Granted, I don't play much multiplayer and already have PS Plus, but those servers cost a lot and at least they have to recoup the investment somehow.

I compare it to buying something like WOW and then complaining about the monthly subscription fee (which is practically the reason I never played the game, could never justify the cost for just one game), but in comparison, Sony's fee is a lot more compelling than something like a WOW subscription and at least they're not trying some other type of gimmicky fees.

But, I think I digressed there… The real question is how multiplayer will be implemented and if they're charging us for peer hosting or if there will be dedicated servers for ALL multiplayer games that require plus.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
11 years ago

Thats the grey area, because most of the costs he is talking about would come from keeping PSplus up and running and providing some of the benefits from Plus like early access, free stuff and discounts. And of course if you want that stuff paying for it makes sense, and many times despite still paying yearly, it pays for itself in just months.

But concerning the online play, its still free to play online for the PC, and acess to play online is the same throughout. You log in and play. The problem I have to pay to play is Im already paying for ISP service, therefore my quality of play and the experience I get, im paying my ISP not Sony. Im pretty much paying Sony just to log in, because as much as I support Plus memberships I would have purchased it by now if I thought it was necessary. Now because ISP's favor download speeds compared to upload, my experience is hindered and paying Sony doesnt solve that.

But I suppose I shouldnt complain because Ive already pre-ordered my PS4.

Sir Dan
Sir Dan
11 years ago

I love PS Plus. For $45 I've downloaded over a thousand dollars worth of free games so far this year. Just downlaoded Saints Row the Third last night. Hug me.

Beamboom
Beamboom
11 years ago

… But *is* really Plus that much more than online gaming and access to betas and some older titles?

For me who only wants to play online a very few hours a month, and being someone that buys all the games I want shortly after release and can't care less about unfinished code (ergo "betas") – what more is there for me? Some free icons and backgrounds?


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/27/2013 12:48:33 PM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

No, there are tons of new games (downloadable and otherwise) that are discounted right off the bat, and early access to betas is a very big deal for many people. On top of which, there's cloud storage and early demos, too.

You should read up on everything that Plus offers in a subscription. It's vastly more appealing than Live, I think.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
11 years ago

If I wanted what PSplus offers I would have purchased it by now. The only reason Ill be getting it for the PS4 is because Sony has lumped the two consumers together. So im with you Beam.

I just want to log in and play online once in awhile.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

You only THINK you would have bought it if you wanted it, the fact is you quickly learn that you like more types of games than you ever thought and you get plenty of games that you planned to pick up cheap eventually for "free".

Simcoe
Simcoe
11 years ago

Well if Sony is going down this route, I'm glad they are only implementing it with online MP for the PS4 and not trying to mandate it for MP on the PS3 too. This makes it very clear that to play online with the PS4 you will need PS+. Now I'm just wondering what model (if any) beyond a PS+ subscription will Sony implement when GaiKai finally goes online.

Underdog15
Underdog15
11 years ago

Got Deus Ex for free last month, Beam. If that's any indication.

Akuma_
Akuma_
11 years ago

Got Uncharted 3 for free this month Beam.

You guys don't seem to realise how good us Sony fans have had it in the past. We have had total free access to multiplayer and all the online features the PS3 had. The infrastructure and ongoing maintenance and support for that isn't cheap, and Sony's answer in the past was to keep the quality of the service low, so the costs will be low. But moving forward as the article says they want to improve their online offering, so they need to increase costs. It's simple.

We are very lucky this wasn't implemented in the current gen.

And World is correct, I have tried a lot of games that I otherwise wouldn't have bothered with because of PSN+. Plus most first party titles eventually become free at some point. Fairly sure all the uncharted games have been at some point. Killzone and Infamous both have been as well. As well as both LBP's.


Last edited by Akuma_ on 6/27/2013 8:36:27 PM

Beamboom
Beamboom
11 years ago

I respect that others find this service useful but for me personally cloud storage, betas and demos are not something I want to pay for. All three are what I associate with services that has always been and should always be free.

I see old games being mentioned:
I've owned Deus Ex since day one, and that is exactly my point here.
Also, DE:HR has been thrown after you on all other markets, both at online retailers and on Steam for a year now, Underdog. Deus Ex is actually a very good example of what I talk about.

Uncharted 3, if I ever wanted to play that game I would have had it for at least a YEAR already.

So if this is an indication of PS+ I gotta say "sorry but not interested" cause really, this is not something I want to pay for! I already own the games I want to play!

So I am not saying that this is worthless. This might be a good deal indeed For those with a LOT of time to do their gaming and want to play games they otherwise would not have bought. But that's not me. As a gamer with a restricted amount of time and buys the few games I do want to spend time on, well I can only reiterate what I said: There really isn't much of interest in this deal, or I'd be a Plus member a long time already!


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/28/2013 12:39:36 AM

Huey
Huey
11 years ago

As I am not an online gamer, I did purchase a Plus membership early on. To date I am very satisfied with it.

Dukemz_UK
Dukemz_UK
11 years ago

I cannot praise the PS Plus service enough. It's been FANTASTIC value. And us Europeans get even better stuff than you guys across the pond.

TGSA
TGSA
11 years ago

That seriously bugs me as I have the US version of Plus. What's really bad is that EU gamers know around the 15th of each month what they're getting the following month, whereas the US site only releases that information a few days ahead of the first Tuesday each month.

JROD0823
JROD0823
11 years ago

Darn you, you privileged Europeans, DARN YOU!!!

Just teasing, Dukemz. 🙂

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
11 years ago

*Is jealous* 🙁

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
11 years ago

Meh, I'm okay with this. 50/12=4.16. I pay $90 a MONTH for my phone. I can handle $50 a YEAR.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
11 years ago

It has also saved me a couple of bucks. Plus, anything you download you keep forever now. no two ways about it.

Anyone who's a BestBuy Rewards Zone member, check your deals (or whatever) BestBuy is giving $10 off a $50 PS+ subscription and $5 off a 3 month subscription.

telly
telly
11 years ago

Exactly. Even if you don't love what the service offers and wish you could game online for free, it's so cheap there's no need to get too worked up about it, I don't think. And if you're like me, you may like it more than you thought you would if you give it a try!

johnld
johnld
11 years ago

actually if youre getting ps4, you guys might want to buy up ps plus cards now since they carry over. as of now ps plus is 50 dollars but when ps4 comes out the price will increase to 60 dollars. the sony slide on that presentation showed ps plus would be 5 dollars a month.

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